Strong sales of Microsoft's Kinect platform couldn't keep video game industry sales from slumping in 2010, NPD reports.
Video game sales were flat for 2010, according to The NPD Group, whose research
showed that total consumer spending on gaming content in 2010 was down by as
much as 1 percent compared with 2009.
The preliminary estimate for total consumer spending on gaming content-including
new physical video and PC games, used games, game rentals, subscriptions,
digital full-game downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and
mobile game apps-was between $15.4 billion and $15.6 billion in 2010, according
to the market research company.
NPD said spending on new physical content at retail continues to account for
the majority of total consumer spending on games content. NPD research found U.S.
retail sales of new physical video game content, which includes portable,
console and PC game software, generated revenues of $10.1 billion, representing
a 5 percent decline over the $10.6 billion generated in 2009.
Sales of new physical video game hardware, software and accessories ended
2010 at $18.6 billion, a 6 percent decrease from 2009. If PC game sales are
included, which enjoyed an increase of 3 percent versus 2009, sales hit $19.3
billion, down 5 percent from 2009. Aside from PC games, accessory sales were up
over 13 percent due to a 20 percent increase in the average retail price of accessory
items, NPD's report noted.
Bright spots came from PC games new physical retail software, which was up 3
percent in 2010, according to data released by NPD Group, as well as increases
in the consumer spending on used game sales, full-game digital downloads and
downloadable content, mobile gaming apps, and social network gaming, which
offset declines in console and new portable physical game sales, rentals and
In 2010, the Xbox 360 platform was the only system to enjoy a year-over-year
increase in unit sales. December 2010 was the best month ever for Xbox 360
hardware sales. For the month of December, the Nintendo DS was the best-selling
hardware system, achieving an install base of over 47 million units sold in the
which now surpasses that of the Sony PlayStation 2. Microsoft's Kinect platform
was the best-selling accessory item for the second month in a row, following
its release in early November.
"December 2010 represented one of the strongest monthly performances
the industry has ever had at retail. It was a robust finish to a year marked by
innovation and engaging millions of consumers through a multitude of delivery
models," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO
of the Entertainment Software Association, the trade group that represents U.S.
computer and video game publishers.
"Computer and video games led all other entertainment options as we
responded to consumers' demands for creative content on every platform, from
consoles to smartphones to handheld game devices," he said. "I look
forward to a strong 2011 with a great pipeline of titles, many of which will be
unveiled at the global center of video games-the E3 Expo."
NPD Group industry analyst Anita Frazier noted that the dynamics of games
content purchasing changed dramatically in 2010, with options ranging from the
physical product to digital downloads on connected devices as well as in-store
"The increasing number of ways to acquire the content has allowed the
industry to maintain total consumer spend on content as compared to 2009, and
we should expect 2011 to be a growth year in the games industry as the consumer
demand for gaming continues to evolve," she said.